Web Designer Spotlight: Holger Bartel

He’s doing a Masterclass on accessibility, user experience, performance, and more at Form Function & Class 9 on 8–18–18!

Holger Bartel hails from Germany and resides in Hong Kong, where he founded Harbour Front HK and runs a design studio, uforepublic. He’s also recently launched the conference and events platform, Colloq.


How did you get started?

A bit of a long story, but here you go: In 1998 I had to move from Santa Fe to San Diego. I ended up at my cousin’s place and didn’t really know what to do next and the decision to buy a Mac PowerBook won over travelling South America. I then bought a book called the “MacBible” to learn about the Mac and what to do with it. On the last pages it said something along the lines of: “Btw, there’s also something called the internet and it’s made with HTML.” I then rushed to the book store and bought a book on HTML, many others and the softwares followed suit. I then stayed in San Diego for 6 months, sucking up book after book like an empty sponge and learning the tools of the trade. To then eventually become a freelance web designer.

Can you describe the first website you ever built?

The very first website I built wasn’t really a full website, but rather trying to make sense of HTML and how it worked. I still remember I used some free mars images from NASA to make sense of what a <div> does ;) Hello world. The first real website I built was for the father of a friend of mine.

What are your favorite tools of the trade?

One of the things that has been my best companion since 1998 is the editor I’m using: BBEdit. Call me old school, but it does what I need and it is rock solid. I’m also very happy with my Autonomous standing desk, which was one of the best decisions lately.

Autonomous standing desk

What’s your favorite color, emoji, typeface?

I really like 👻 and House Industries’ Neutraface. But the two don’t go too well together 😜

Neutraface (via)

What’s your favorite HTML/CSS/JS feature or trick?

After what feels like forever, we can finally center things easily with CSS! CSS Box Alignment Module

What are you watching / reading / listening to these days?

Last thing I watched: The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes on Netflix — pretty cool to see what, how and where people build houses. Also inspiring.

What’s a cool thing that we should check out in your city?

The view from Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak just never gets old. And then some Dim Sum 🥟!

View of Victoria Harbour from Victoria Peak (via)